Board

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

See our Rights & Democracy Project (c4) board members at radvt.org/board

MARY GANNON
Chair, New Hampshire

For over 30 years, Mary has been involved with social justice education and activism personally and professionally throughout Northern New England. Her interests lie in educating and organizing through the lens of racial and social justice to co-create communities that care about the healing and well-being of everyone, and where the voices of underrepresented and invisible peoples are at the forefront of the conversation. Mary has extensive experience in training and teaching, facilitating dialogues on a range of social justice issues, and supporting community stakeholders in the co-creation of coalitions to address racial and social injustices in their community. A resident of Winchester, New Hampshire, Mary’s work is informed by her bi-state perspective and activist network. She is a founding member of the Community Equity Collaborative in Brattleboro VT, and works closely with other activist groups in Vermont. 

Rights & Democracy’s vision and mission are aligned with her values, belief system and the approach through which she engages with individuals, organizations, schools, and communities. Mary believes that a deeper understanding of our history and truth-telling is essential to disrupting structural oppression and she feels a deep sense of urgency to engage with an organization whose mission speaks to the dignity, liberation and the well-being of all.

Lynn

LYNN MERLONE
Secretary, New Hampshire

Lynn is a social worker by training who has been employed as an elementary school counselor in Cheshire County for over 20 years. Before moving to New Hampshire from Chicago, Lynn had no idea about the realities of rural poverty. She has been involved in peace work since the early 1980s, when she worked for an organization training young men how to document conscientious objector status when the Selective Service System was revived. Since then, Lynn has worked with a transitional program for homeless families, served as board member and president of the school counseling association in NH, worked on the health care justice committee for Monadnock Progressive Alliance, as a phone captain for Bernie Sanders 2016 presidential campaign, and most recently, as a turf captain for the Sanders GOTV in 2020. 

Through these experiences, Lynn found that she enjoys working in the background – planning, organizing behind-the-scenes, tracking data, internet research – activities that support the work of activists. She has a deep respect for Rights & Democracy, and looks forward to helping with furthering a progressive agenda

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MARGARET DALY
Vermont

Margaret has worked in healthcare for over 35 years and has a passion to see a change. She is a physician whose primary patient population is persons with diabetes. Margaret is pained everyday to hear her patients’ stories of unaffordable medications and spends an inordinate amount of her time finding cost-efficient alternatives. Margaret wants to do more to bring affordable healthcare to all and to be an advocate for patients. This year, Margaret presented educational material to Vermont Congressman Peter Welch’s office, as an advocate for the National Eating Disorders Association. Prior to its cancellation because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Margaret was scheduled to be a American Diabetes Association advocate during their week of advocacy to Congress in Washington DC.

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NATASHA ECKART-BANING
Vermont

Natasha is a staunch advocate for education, holding numerous bachelor degrees from the University of Pittsburgh in Africana Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration on the Education of African American Children in Urban Settings, and a Masters of Elementary Education. After her studies, Natasha taught in Pittsburgh public schools before returning to Vermont to teach at Northfield Elementary School. Natasha has worked across the country for the National Education Association, and currently resides in Vermont with her family. Aside from her work on the RDI Board, she’s continuing her education advocacy with the Vermont NEA and facilitates Equity & Diversity trainings.

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AMANDA JANOO
Vermont

Amanda is the Knowledge and Policy Lead for the Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEALL). Amanda is an economic policy expert with over a decade of experience working with governments and international development institutions around the world. Her work aims to build just and sustainable economies through goal-oriented and participatory policy design processes.

Prior to joining WEAll, Amanda worked for the United Nations and the African Development Bank as an industrial policy and structural transformation expert. As a Fulbright researcher, she explored the relationship between international trade and informal employment. She graduated from Cambridge University with an MPhil in Development Studies and heralds from South Strafford, Vermont.

PROF. JAMIE MCCALLUM
Vermont

Jamie is an author and activist living in Weybridge, Vermont. He teaches sociology at Middlebury College, where he’s the co-leader of the American Association of University Professors. He’s the author and/or editor of three books and his work has been featured in scholarly journals, as well as the New York Times, The New Yorker, Washington Post, The Nation, Mother Jones, Jacobin, Dissent, etc. He’s been a professional and amateur labor activist for half his life.

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SCOTT GARREN
Vermont

Scott has been a lifelong activist for social and economic justice starting with the civil rights and anti-war movements. He is a founding member of RAD, Facilitator of the Vermont Leadership Committee and is on the Movement Politics Committee, and Treasurer of the Vermont Political Revolution PAC. He is the founder of Vermont Acts, to get money out of politics, and has been active in the Vermont Workers Center, Castleton Indivisibles, and the Rutland Area NAACP. He also serves as the Rutland County Treasurer & State Committeeman for the Vermont Democratic Party. He is a Data Scientist and a member of the Analyst Institute, a clearinghouse for evidence on voter contact and engagement programs that makes evidence-based recommendations to the progressive community. His commitment to fighting for social, economic and environmental justice is informed by a grandmother who fled czarist Russia because of persecution for her union organizing and his own Quaker upbringing.

LIDIA YEN
New Hampshire

Lidia is a 22-year-old activist who originally came to New Hampshire as a refugee from South Sudan and later on became a citizen. Lidia works on racial justice issues in her community, which she now considers her home. She graduated college with a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration and wants to build a connection between her current racial justice work and healthcare advocacy in the future.

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DAVE KIRKPATRICK
New Hampshire

Dave is the Executive Director at Cheshire TV in Keene, NH, where he has worked for and with the greater Monadnock Region community for almost ten years. Currently an Antrim resident, Dave grew up in Peterborough, NH before leaving for Boston to study Music Production and Engineering at Berklee College of Music. He launched a 20-year career in the Boston Area producing media and events, building and operating recording studios, and later expanding operations to include Film, TV, and Multimedia production. During that time he built The Lanes and Supersonic recording studios to serve the needs of the vibrant urban music scene in the 80s and 90s. He intends to continue developing independent media skills and resources for the benefit of the local, grassroots movements that have so heavily impacted our modern political world. Dave believes that we all have both rights and responsibilities bestowed upon us, and we all have a role to play and deserve opportunities to participate in the shaping of the future.

Cathy Albisa (NESRI)

CATHY ALBISA
Board Member At-Large (NYC)

Cathy is currently the VP of Institutional and Sectoral Change at Race Forward. Prior to this position, she co-founded Partners for Dignity & Rights (formerly National Economic and Social Rights Initiative) along with Sharda Sekaran and Liz Sullivan in order to build legitimacy for human rights in general, and economic and social rights in particular. She is committed to a community-centered and participatory human rights approach that is locally anchored, but universal and global in its vision. Cathy has a background in constitutional and human rights, and significant expertise in reproductive justice, corporate accountability, and economic and social rights. She has published extensively and served on boards as diverse as the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, the International Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Network, and the Center for Social Inclusion, among others. Cathy clerked for the Honorable Mitchell Cohen in the District of New Jersey. She received a BA from the University of Miami and is a graduate of Columbia Law School.

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